House on Haunted Hill William Castle

House on Haunted Hill comes loaded with traps for the po-mo smartass. A vehicle for shocks that's cheap in any sense of the word, it's a prime target for derision and irony. How else do you treat a film with Vincent Price as a millionaire who dares five suckers to spend a night in a haunted house, complete with falling chandeliers and an enormous vat of acid? Under normal circumstances, this would be ripe for Mystery Science Theatre 3000 treatment, but it is given unusual potency by director and shameless showman William Castle. He completely grasps the basics of the old dark house genre and is absolutely unpretentious in his gleefully mechanical delivery of shocks. There's an honesty to his cynicism that's strangely comforting — he understands the base level on which horror works and his simple attempt to deliver the goods somehow cuts closer to the bone than many more pompous A-level horrors. I wouldn't exactly call the movie good, but I can't write off a film that's this aware of its milieu and cheeky enough to hire Elisha Cook, Jr. as an alcoholic doomsayer. And though we may no longer experience the film in "Emergo" — where an inflatable skeleton was flown over the audience on a pulley — the DVD is at least testament to Castle's lack of affectation. The film is offered in original black-and-white and colourised versions, though the former is strangely featured as an extra. Other extras include a commentary by MST3K's Mike Nelson that's not nearly as funny as his former day job, the press book, the trailer, and a demonstration of other films being violated by colourisation. (Fox)